Combatting Depression in Seniors

Senior with Depression

According to the CDC, over 13% of seniors who receive home health care suffer from major depression.  The risk is compounded by chronic medical or health issues, like cancer or heart disease. So, what can we do to reduce depression among seniors?  

Depression in Seniors 

The first step is to recognize that there is an issue, which includes being able to spot the signs and symptoms.  

  • Sad mood, anxiety, or hopelessness 
  • Fatigue and lack of energy 
  • Lack of interest in activities that once were enjoyed 
  • Difficulty with focus 
  • Trouble with memory 
  • Difficulty making decisions; indecisiveness 
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep pattern 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Irritability, angst 
  • Chronic pain, aches, or muscle cramps 
  • Suicidal ideation or thoughts 

If you are someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, contact a healthcare professional right away. If you have questions or concerns about an aging loved one in Colorado Springs, call us about elderly care services to enhance quality of life, while also providing current caregivers with relief and respite.  

What Seniors Can Do 

Sometimes, depression is a symptom of an underlying medical condition which may be unpreventable. However, there are some things that seniors can do to take care of their own mental health- and to avoid debilitating depression, including: 

  • Get physical exercise every day. 
  • Engage with others and try not to isolate. 
  • Eat a diet that is rich in wholesome, nutritious foods. 
  • Learn to recognize signs and triggers for depression. 
  • Practice good sleep hygiene, waking and retiring at the same time each day/night. 
  • Indulge in healthy hobbies or activities that you take pleasure in. 
  • Connect with others, including family and friends. Make it a priority to socialize, often.  
  • If physical challenges prevent you from getting out, talk to your provider or doctor about mobility aids and options that can assist in your autonomy and improve quality of life.  

Remind senior loved ones that it takes time to alleviate signs and symptoms of depression. Treatment does not take effect immediately, but can be effective, gradually.  

Supporting Seniors with Depression 

There are some things that you can do to help and support a senior in your life that is struggling with signs of depression. Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Encourage them to see their health care professional regarding symptoms of depression, as it could be a sign of a medical condition.  
  • Remind them to take medications or attend appointments. 
  • Motivate and inspire the senior to take walks, remain active, and leave the home regularly.  
  • Make sure they have transportation to their appointments. 
  • Listen with care and without judgment.  
  • Be patient. 
  • If your loved one expresses suicidal thoughts, immediately inform their provider or doctor.  
  • Try to remain positive and remind the senior that they have things to look forward to. Try to bring a bit of sunshine into their life.  

The best thing that you can do for an aging loved one with depression is to offer support and interaction. Also, consider the many advantages of in-home health care. Talk to the caring and compassionate professionals at Gentle Shepherd Home Care, an in-home senior care service in Colorado Springs. Call or visit us today to learn more! 


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